It was sad to see trainer Rex Lipp pull the pin on Star Shiraz's spring campaign in Melbourne. But it was the right thing to do.

The Sequalo 3yo filly went to Melbourne carrying high hopes of making a dramatic impact on the major races against her own age and sex.

Her Queensland form was exemplary. Before being turned out for a spell in mid-August her formlines read as follows: 2-1-2-2-12-1. How good is that!

So Lipp, like me and many others, was confident that Star Shiraz was worth taking on the long trip south. I had dollar signs flashing because I felt she was a betting opportunity likely to be served up at juicy odds.

Well, it all went wrong, although her first-up effort was a good one, finishing 3.3 lengths fifth to the mighty Alinghi in a Group 2 on September 4. That was the good news. The bad news came next.

She copped a wide gate (14) in a Group 3 at Caulfield on September 19 and was never able to get into the hunt. She was slowly away, settled well back and at least 12 to 15 lengths off the lead.

Glen Boss hooked her out to make a run in the straight but the cause was a hopeless one, though she was beaten only 4.4 lengths by the slick Hollow Bullet over the 1400m.

Her final chance came at Flemington on October 2. Once again, she drew wide, but this time Danny Nikolic, her new jockey, took her up to race right up on the pace. It seemed like the right thing to do.

In the straight, though, Star Shiraz had the white flag up and she wilted out of contention. The winner, again, was Alinghi.

Rex Lipp decided that the game was up and that the best thing to do was to call a halt, give her a three months' break and then get her back racing in the new year. Wise move, wise man.

Do you, like me, get angry and frustrated when the horse on which you've bet heaps is locked away in the barrier gates for five or 10 minutes while precious time is wasted on a stubborn horse that baulks at going into the stalls?

We must spend more time fiddling around with these malcontents than any other racing nation on the planet.

Pity, then, the connections of promising 3yo San Vitale at the Cold Coast. The start of his race was delayed by some 25 minutes on October 2. San Vitale spent a long time in the barrier, waiting and waiting.

Jockey Tony Pattillo reckons a build-up of lactic acid occurred and contributed to the colt getting away tardily and subsequently losing by a narrow margin.

"I believe the horse was harshly done by and it was not fair," the jockey told stewards.

This issue of how long to muck around with misbehaving horses at the start was supposed to be raised at a stewards' conference on October 18. Let's hope something is sorted out.

My belief is that a strict time limit be placed on horses who refuse to get into the barriers. If they can't make the time limit then scratch them.

John Wallace, one of the great trainers at the Gold Coast in the last 20 years, has a couple of good types in Road To Heaven and Dynamic Wave. Follow both.

Dynamic Wave has raced only seven times for two wins and three placings. The 4yo was beaten a nose at the Gold Coast over 1000m on October 2. It was his third run back from a break of 298 days, so he should now be ready to fire.

Persuades, from the Beaudesert stable of Ted Ainsworth, got up and won at the Gold Coast on October 2 and should be able to make the leap to better class races.

The 3yo filly won a Maiden at Eagle Farm 1200m in late July, then had a 50 day break before resuming on September 16 with a close-up second at Ipswich in a Class 3 1100m. Her Gold Coast win was well deserved.

I liked the run of Mesmerising for second at Doomben 1110m on October 2, so keep this Bevan Laming-trained 3yo filly under close watch. That was her first racetrack appearance and she'll be all the better for it.

By Brian Blackwell